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2023 №27

Author: Konstantin V. Dushenko
About the author:

Konstantin V. Dushenko — DSc in History, Senior Researcher, Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences of the. Russian Academy of Sciences, Nakhimovsky Prospekt 27, 51/21, 117997 Moscow, Russia.


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Since the beginning of the 20th century, the leitmotif of the theme of the end of St. Petersburg is the so-called “curse of Evdokia”: “Petersburg to be empty.” This is a contamination of two quotes from the Petrine era. Both of them, when they appeared, did not have any distinct eschatological sound, and both were not known in the era of romanticism. From the 1860s to the beginning of the 20th century the prophecy “Let it be empty” was cited as a formula of the retrograde of the reign of Peter the Great, moreover as a prediction or threat, but not a curse. Actual eschatological sound was given to him by Merezhkovsky in the novels “Peter and Alexei” (1904–1905), “Alexander I” (1911–1912) and the article “Petersburg to be empty” (1908). The formula “St. Petersburg to be empty” entered the political agenda on the eve and after the February Revolution, in connection with rumors about the surrender of Petrograd to the Germans and the government moving to Moscow. Afterwards the 19th centuries prophecies were perceived by the eyes of the creators of the Russian symbolism. The result of such distorted optics was the idea of the formula “Let it be empty” as the original curse that gravitates over St. Petersburg, as well as identification of this formula with the eschatology of the Old Believers.

Keywords: Petersburg text, St. Petersburg myth, eschatology, prophecies, Russian Symbolists, Tsarina Eudokia, Peter I, D.L. Mordovtsev, D.S. Merezhkovsky, V.N. Toporov.
For citation:

Dushenko, K.V. “ʽLet it be Empty’: ‘The Curse of Eudokia’ and its Reception in Russian Culture of the 19th – Early 20th Centuries.” Literaturnyi fakt, no. 1 (27), 2023, pp. 173–194. (In Russ.)


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